CrossFit Nutrition – Food:
Carbs:In general, more activity yields a greater need for carbohydrates. Carbs act as energy for your more intense training sessions. Heavy squatting and Fran-Grace-Helen type of day? Do us all a favor and eat some carbs. Please note that carbs come in different forms (ever heard the terms simple and complex?). Complex carbohydrate consumption tends to provide a more even and long-lasting distribution of energy. Mmmm, sweet potatoes :)
Fats:How did it ever get a bad rap? My guess is fat's caloric density (it clocks in at 9 calories/gram, which is over double the 4 calories/gram in carbs and protein). We need fats, though – for proper brain functioning, healthy tissues and skin, fat-soluble vitamin absorption, hormone production, and more! Fat also becomes an energy source in lower intensity, "CrossFit rest-day WOD" type activity. Finally, peanut butter is life. Nom.
Protein:Everyone's favorite (especially our Lost Friend who was attempting to navigate the supplement aisle!). The building block of protein (amino acids) are also the building blocks for your guns. A fairly standard recommendation for athletic performance is between .7-1.0 grams of protein/pound of body weight. In English, this would suggest that a 150-pound CrossFit athlete take in 105-150 grams of protein per day. More than this has not been shown to give you more gainz, though.
No, not Skittles:Add color to your plates in your fruit and vegetable choices; micronutrients are just as important as macronutrients for your performance!
Food prep:CrossFit nutrition 101 alert! You'll need to spend some time preparing each week. If you are out and about, you may also consider a meal management bag to carry around your grub! Personally, my Expedition gym backpack goes with me everywhere.
CrossFit Nutrition – Supplements:Let's just start by saying that in terms of CrossFit nutrition, supplements ARE NOT NECESSARY!!!! A focus on a nutrient-dense diet is definitely the place to start. However, there are a few supplements that I feel can benefit a majority of athletes:
Fish oil:A fabulous supplement for diets low in fatty fish. Its benefits are numerous, so I'll stick to athlete-focused ones! Fish oil has been shown to improve our immune system, battle inflammation, reduce delayed onset muscle soreness, improve cognition, and protect the heart!
Vitamin D:Especially for those cold weather climates! Vitamin D helps with protein synthesis, calcium absorption, cell signaling, cell regeneration, and more. Time to recap. Find balance in your macronutrient intake before considering supplementation (I'm looking at you, Lost Friend in the Protein Power Aisle!!). Bring color into your life with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Or M&Ms. If you'd like to supplement, fish oil and Vitamin D are valuable assets to your CrossFit nutrition plan. Finally, have fun with your food – it's there to fuel both your gigantic gains as well as your smiling soul.
This primer on CrossFit nutrition has been brought to us by Danielle Levy-Wolins. When she's not at Six Pack Fitness handling customer concerns, she is just as likely to be found working on her Master's in Nutrition as she is upside down in a handstand or right side up lifting a barbell at CrossFit!